Virgin Hyperloop One has a new CEO and board chairman



High-speed autonomous transport firm Virgin Hyperloop One is changing up its direction.

CEO Rob Lloyd has left after three decades at the helm and Jay Walder, who ran bike-sharing operator Motivate, is currently heading up Virgin Hyperloop One, the company said Thursday.

Sir Richard Branson, that stepped down as chairman in October, has been replaced with Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman and CEO of the United Arab Emirates shipping and logistics firm DP World.

DP World, that participated in Virgin Hyperloop One’s most recent funding round, is currently the firm ’s biggest investor. DP World spent in the company in 2016.  Earlier this year, the two companies launched a logistics joint venture to develop hyperloop transport for cargo.

Walder is also joining the board of directors.

Virgin Hyperloop One said that the new senior management group will concentrate on commercialization, especially a planned hyperloop program in India.

Walder has a very long history in transport. He most recently ran Motivate, the biggest bike-share company in North America. Motivate, that was acquired by Lyft in July, operates bike share programs from New York as CitiBike, in Washington, D.C. as Capital Bikeshare, also in San Francisco as Ford GoBike, among others.

Walder helped reevaluate London’s aging mass transit program as the bureau ’s managing director and then proceeded to serve as chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. He later became CEO of MTR Corporation in Hong Kong.

“I have focused my career on utilizing technology to advance innovation in transport, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lead the company that has initiated hyperloop,” Walder said in an declaration.

Virgin Hyperloop One has experienced a bumpy ride in its brief life. The company, which began as Hyperloop One before it was rebranded in October 2017 after Virgin’therefore investment, has been embroiled in a lawsuit with a co-founder and lots of employees. The parties reached a settlement at 2016.

The company also has lost a few executives and board members, such as co-founder Shervin Pishevar, who obtained a leave of absence in December after Bloomberg reported on multiple promises of sexual misconduct. Branson replaced Pishevar, who stepped down from his partnership firm Sherpa Capital.

Virgin Hyperloop One has experienced success too, increasing capital, forming partnerships, and running feasibility research and conducting evaluations of the high-speed technology. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first suggested the hyperloop — a method of reduced-pressure tubes that could hurtle people and bundles long distances at super speeds — in a nearly 60-page public white newspaper in 2013.

Today, the company is focused on its job in India. The authorities recently declared the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project because of public infrastructure project using global consortium DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One.

The Virgin Hyperloop One-DP World consortium must now wait and see if it’ll be awarded a concession for the undertaking. If it’s, the company expects to start building on the 11 km evaluation loop in 2019. When finished, hyperloop can cut the traveling time between Mumbai and Pune from approximately 4 hours 25 minutes, according to Virgin Hyperloop One.

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